Development Process FAQs
A Zone Clearance (ZC) is required to verify that each new or expanded use or structure complies with all of the applicable requirements of the Fresno Municipal Code and with any applicable policies and standards of the Fresno General Plan and any operative plans. A ZC is also required to confirm that the establishment of a new use is permitted as a matter of right and that no Conditional Use Permit or other entitlements are required prior to securing a tax certificate and commencing operation. To determine if your project qualifies for a Zone Clearance, please review the Zone Clearance Process document below.
Zone Clearance applications are only accepted in person at the Planning Public Counter or by mail. Mailed applications shall be sent to City of Fresno, Attn: McKencie Contreras, 2600 Fresno Street Room 3043, Fresno, CA 93721. Faxed Zone Clearance applications are not accepted. Visit the link below for additional information on zone clearances.
Low-Level Zone Clearance: $27
High-Level Zone Clearance – Type 1: $328
High-Level Zone Clearance – Type 2: $1,640
Plan Amendments are required whenever there is a proposed planned land use change. All plan amendment applications are considered by the Planning Commission and City Council.
Plan Amendment filing fee information is linked below. For additional information contact Mike Sanchez at Mike.Sanchez@fresno.gov. You can also visit the Plan Amendment Application, Forms & Fees page of the website.
Rezone applications are required whenever there is a proposed zone district change. All rezone applications are considered by the Planning Commission and City Council.
A Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application is required whenever a use is proposed that requires a CUP as outlined in the Zoning Ordinance. CUP applications are reviewed by Planning staff and are only considered by the Planning Commission or City Council by appeal. A CUP is also required for all cell towers. For additional information on Cell Towers view our policy linked below.
Development Permit applications are required for all new structures, with the exception of single-family residences.
A Variance application is a request to modify property development standards due to special circumstances. Note, variances are not granted for uses (i.e. to operate a commercial use in a residential district), rather they are simply for development standards (i.e. setbacks, height, open space, etc.).
A Minor Deviation is a request to modify property development standards by no more than 10 percent. For example, if the required side yard setback is five feet, an applicant may request a 10 percent deviation which would allow the applicant to encroach six inches into the required side yard.
A zoning inquiry is a request for a formal response by the Planning Division for a set of specific planning questions.
The applicant would submit an application. Once the application has been accepted, staff will do research on the property(s). Once the research is finished, a staff member will send a letter out to the applicant.
A zoning inquiry can take from 1–14 days.
Signs fall within two distinct categories in the city: temporary banners and permanent signs.
In order to display a temporary banner advertising grand openings, special events, sales, etc., a temporary banner permit must be obtained from the Planning Division. Temporary sign permits are:
- valid for 30 day periods
- may not exceed 60 square feet in area—must be affixed to a wall.
Note that only two permits per calendar year may be obtained. To obtain a permit, a plot plan depicting the location of the proposed sign, including the size of the sign, must be submitted to the public planning counter. This permit is issued immediately.
Temporary Sign Permit Application (i.e. Banner)
Fee: $182.00 per sign
There are three different types of permanent signs:
- wall mounted
- free standing sign
Given the many variability’s of sizes, setbacks, height, etc. of the three types of signs, it is recommended that an applicant visit the public planning counter or refer to the Sign Ordinance.
Also note that shopping centers must participate in a Master Sign Program (MSP) where the design of the signs must be uniform. As part of this process, the shopping center owner prepares the guidelines, which in turn are reviewed by city staff to ensure that they comply with city ordinances and that the design is compatible with the center (i.e., pole signs are strongly discouraged). Once the MSP is established, future tenants may obtain sign permits, however, all applications must be signed by the property owner/management team.
Sign Permit Application (individual sign for a business not located within a shopping center) Fee: $318.00
Fees: New Program $999.00
Sign in established program $182.00
A Tentative Parcel Map is a process that subdivides the property into four or fewer parcels unless the property is zoned for commercial or industrial development and the subdivision meets the exclusions afforded through Section 66426 of the Government Code.
For tentative parcel maps, contact:
For final parcel maps, contact:
Easement encroachment permits are requested whenever someone proposes to encroach into an easement with a structure, pool, etc. Easements commonly include, public utilities (i.e. telephone, sewer, water), irrigation, flood control, etc.
Yes, a Zone Clearance is required for a Cottage Food Operation (CFO). The applicant is required to fill out the Home Occupation Zone Clearance form and bring a hard copy to the Development Services Division public counter (2600 Fresno Street, 3rd Floor). Once Development Services staff signs the ZC the applicant shall continue the process and obtain their Business Tax Certificate from the Business Tax Division on the 2nd Floor of City Hall. The CFO applicant shall provide the Fresno County Health Department with a copy of the approved Zone Clearance.